I express my concern and disappointment to the woman who performed the national anthem recently using ASL at a sporting event in the US. She has not been vetted or even have proper certification or training, which is disrespectful to the deaf and signing community.
Unfortunately, she claims she has the right to perform because she knows some sign language and copied a Deaf performer’s style of interpretation but was in no way alike or even accurate. Moving forward, I urge her to reflect on her actions and the impact she has had on the deaf and signing community. I encourage her to seek proper certification and training if she wishes to become an interpreter. However, it is important to recognize that only qualified and culturally competent Deaf ASL performers should be hired to perform national anthems at events.
To everyone, culture appropriation is a serious issue that can cause harm and offense to marginalized communities.
It is important to recognize and respect cultural differences and to strive for inclusivity and equity in all aspects of our society. Even if a hearing person has taken ASL classes, it does not qualify them to take on the role of an ASL performer. ASL interpretation requires not only knowledge of the language itself, but also an understanding of a lived experience of a deaf person’s culture and community it represents.
ASL performers go through extensive training and certification processes to ensure that they are qualified to interpret messages accurately and respectfully for the deaf and signing community. Hiring unqualified performers can lead to inaccurate and inappropriate interpretations, which can cause confusion and offense to the deaf community.
To ensure that qualified and culturally competent interpreters are hired for events, it is important to be mindful of who is being hired for ASL interpretation services. Event organizers can reach out to deaf organizations or businesses that provide these services to find qualified professionals who understand the nuances of ASL interpretation and can ensure that messages are accurately conveyed to the deaf and signing community.
By working with these organizations and businesses, event organizers can demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility for all attendees. It is essential to ensure that everyone, regardless of their hearing ability, is able to participate in events and feel included in our society.
It is important to acknowledge that there may be situations where qualified deaf ASL performers are not available, then it’s in your best interest of your organization, to not provide one at the time. It is also important to recognize that providing accessibility services is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process of inclusivity and equity. Organizations and event planners should prioritize accessibility and inclusion by establishing relationships with qualified deaf ASL performers, interpreters, open captions on screens, Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) providers, and other accessibility professionals in advance, ensuring that they are available and properly compensated for their services.
Furthermore, it is important to acknowledge that there should be no pushbacks or excuses when it comes to hiring qualified ASL performers for events. Accessibility is a fundamental human right, and it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone, regardless of their hearing ability, can fully participate in events and feel included in our society. We should prioritize the needs and experiences of the deaf community and demonstrate our commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable society for all.